summer this is "nightline." >> tonight the nondivorce. their family portrait is still a pretty picture even though they're breaking up. ending a marriage can be downright ugly. but these parents are keeping their family under one roof. >> how are you? >> while brings dates inside. >> meet the real wendy williams. she its loud. she is proud. ivan her own home. >> tonight, the tv queen takes us inside her life, inside her mom cave, and even inside her closet full of wigs. her rare, unfiltered look at a leading lady of daytime talk. five. stop. nexium can take 24 hours to work. zantac rushes relief in as
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good evening. thank you for joining us on this labor day evening. when a marriage crumbles does it have to be horrible or horribly expensive? not according to the couple you are about to meet they don't see the point of actually get dig vors eddig -- divorced. they act divorced. they're one big happy family under one roof while dating on the side.
here's abc's aditi roy. >> reporter: in front of all their friend and 10-year-old son this couple is holding a ceremony. renewing their vows, not exactly. >> these rings do not symbolize who we are to each other anymore. >> we're releasing them. >> reporter: clark and valerie first xs changed the rings 14 years ago. today in a new age ritual you might only find in san francisco, they're handing them back over and uncoupling. >> one, two, three! >> reporter: they no longer consider each other husband and wife but they decided to continue living together in the same house in order to raise jonah. >> is there any sense of mourning or loss doing this? >> no. it is actually, we have grieved a lot of euroour our relationship so long. that isn't the usual way it works.
>> even in movies like crazy stupid love. >> i slept with someone. >> divorce often gets ugly. >> if you keep talking i am going to get out of the car. >> it shows the how broken we are. >> okay. >> reporter: no wonder in real life actress gwyneth paltrow and cold play front man chris martin decided to con sthussciously uncouple last year. is there really a way to barack up without animosity? clark and valerie tate think there is. but it did require an unconventional approach. >> we started talking about the possibility of dating other people. >> reporter: your wife comes to you and says, "i want to date other people." what goes through your mind? >> i remember hearing it initially being shocked. and then being like, well, that sound interesting to me too. >> reporter: so this is clark's room? >> it is. >> reporter: they agree to continue living together. and maintain joint assets. >> reporter: this is your room?
>> this is my room. >> reporter: their relationship wasn't always like this. what was your wedding like? >> it was magical. >> reporter: it was valerie's first time walking down the aisle. it was clark's third. and for the first few years they were living on love. at what point did things start to change? >> i was grieving the loss of my father. i was very close to. i also had some depression around that. and with all of that i started to withdraw. >> jonah. hi. >> reporter: clark and valerie's young marriage was failing. but there was one solution that was never on the table for them. why not just part ways go couples do? before. i knew that wasn't exactly what i wanted. >> reporter: even a separation >> no. >> we weren't considering family unit. >> reporter: that family unit
centered around jonah they were determined to protect from >> reporter: you have friends whose parents are divorced. what is that like for your friend? >> well they're really like sad most of the times. and they are -- they're sometimes gloomy when i come over to they're houses. >> reporter: how would it make you fooleel if your parents got a divorce? >> it would mikeake me sad. if they got a divorce and were friend. it would be fine. >> children thing they're the center of the universe. they don't understand what is happening. they feel it may be something they did wrong. >> reporter: the toll of divorce on a family is not just emotional it is financial. >> my rate is $950 an hour. >> reporter: couples pay average of $50,000 to resolve contested divorces. that according to the documentary divorce corp. >> i'm not saying i'm worth $700 an hour. that's what i charge.
>> reporter: the tats decided not to go that route. instead they have been experimenting with an open marriage. for the last few months. valerie has been in a serious relationship. >> hi. welcome. >> reporter: with a man named joseph. while it might seem weird in most households for a whiff toife to bring over her boyfriend. let alone have a buy friend. clark and valerie have worked out unwritten rules for dating. >> what's going on? >> just getting ready for the dinner tonight. that's all. >> reporter: do you have sleepovers with other people here? >> we give each other private time. jonah and clark out of the house. vice versa. most private time is spent elsewhere. >> how are you? >> good. >> reporter: the most important rule. they're only allowed to introduce serious partners to their son. >> reporter: you have met your mom's buy friend or if your dad is dating someone. what tea that look for you? >> it's fine. >> what did you score on your last home work? >> it's pretty seamless, having
clark, joseph, jonah hang out. they like each other. i feel fortunate in that way. >> reporter: tonight valerie clark and joseph are all meeting up for dinner together. long time friend have watched them get to this point in their relationship. but to an outsider there is still the potential for awkward moments. >> for couples who have an open relationship, both partners have to totally agree to it. if one person feels like the other one is pushing them into that situation, it won't work. >> reporter: you guys both grew up in traditional families, is it tough for them to accept a whole different way to be married? >> absolutely. because they wanted us to put it in one box or another. like most people. you know? well are you going to get a divorce or stay together? it is still difficult for them to grasp. >> reporter: clark admits it is hard to describe his nontraditional marriage to
potential dates. >> they don't understand how i can still be close with val and close with them. >> reporter: while he says getting married a fourth time isn't in the card for him, valerie doesn't rule it out for herself. but for now, the tates are legally married to one another. >> reporter: what's the toughest part about this arrangement? >> i think we are through the tough stuff. which was questioning, jealousy, and insecurity. >> what are we doing, yeah? the unknowns. >> reporter: they say they figured out a way to be happy as a family and even though they have officially uncoupled, a legal divorce is not on the horizon. at least for now. for night line, aditi roy, in san francisco. next, a behind the scenes look at the wendy williams you have never seen before. and she is not holding back.ype 2 diabetes, you're certainly not alone. fortunately, many have found a different kind of medicine that lowers blood sugar.
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wherever the journey takes you, carry american express gold. it's more than a card. it's the gear that gets it done. everybody knows wendy williams, the daytime talk show host. very few know the devoted wife, mother and unabashed jersey girl who likes the local deli, decorate her house in her decidedly unique style and sometimes escape it all in what she calls her mom cave. tonight a larger than life tv personality lets us into her real life. >> we're going to the deli. >> for a woman so famous, public persona so big. wendy williams lives a remarkably, normal, quiet life in suburban new jersey.
tv's anti-celebrity, celebrity. >> why do you think viewers look you so much, one of the most successful women on daytime television? >> i am. >> reporter: from her shameless love of wigs. >> wigs, honey, love. >> reporter: occasionally over the top outfit and that iconic catch phrase. wendy williams might just be the most unique host. >> this is the best show ever. if i wasn't doing it i'd be watching. >> reporter: wendy williams heading into the eighth season. ratings this year higher than ever. dubbed the unlikely survivor in the cutthroat world of daytime talk. >> i think people like me because i am funny, real. comfortable with myself. that makes people comfortable with themselves. >> reporter: at age 51, thriving as a single host where others, queen latifah, anderson cooper,
and bethenny frankle failed. most celebrity is too big or too small for a turn. >> i don't feel duped because he is turning into a woman, i feel duped because he is the same fame -- >> a lot of your hot topic information comes from the tabloid. an concern you may be sharing false information? >> a lot doesn't come from the tabloid. some of it does. we have a legal department. okay, one woman. here every day. quick to come out and say, okay, look, you can't say this. you can't say that. which i do appreciate. >> do celebrities every call you up and say, why did you do that to me? do publicists call and complain? >> i don't know. they keep that from me. nobody has my number. you know what i mean? >> reporter: she kindly granted us a rare look behind the curtain into her very private world. >> is this where you bring your celebrity friend to kickback on weekends? >> no. >> no, byron.
>> i have no celebrity friend in my telephone. >> not one? >> no. i don't need to be out for lunch with a group of celebrity girls. because now, stuff is going on, i feel weird talking about it. >> reporter: for the girl who got her start as a shock jock local radio dj she now sits atop a fast growing multimillion dollar media empire that include a production company. best selling books, hsn clothing line and sold out comedy shows. but she is happy to keep it simple in the suburbs of new jersey. >> thank you for having us in your home. you have a beautiful home. >> thank you, i decorated it myself. >> really? >> i am a jersey girl through and through. >> what does that mean? >> we have a certain way about us. a little tacky. very lovable. we know how to be sophisticated. but don't care to exercise it all the time. >> reporter: her center of universe, husband and business partner, kevin hunter and son, kevin jr. >> this is my mom cave. >> mom cave?
>> my guys are allowed to come in here. but they don't. >> reporter: there was a moment on your show i saw, we talked about, you talked about your son, and you teared up? weekend. my son doesn't like me anymore. >> we weren't getting along. we get along famously now. i have a comfort level in front of that camera, and with who i am, that, that i don't mind crying on tv. and telling you i'm kregcrying because i'm sad. not because i have my period. >> reporter: wendy williams, speaks without filter and lives without pretense. loves to cook when she can. and hits her favorite deli when she need to. >> hi. i have come for a sloppy joe. >> hi. >> we love you. >> thank you. >> i love you more. >> you watch your show? >> who doesn't watch her show? >> what do you like about her? >> she's beautiful. she's honest. a good lady. >> thanks. >> good morning.
>> reporter: as unassuming as her jersey life can be. wendy's tv life in manhattan, high-end, high wattage with every perk. >> doing the show is like being shot out of a cannon. when the doors open that's it. >> reporter: i have seen some shows where the audience they're like props. but here, they're real participants. their energy. >> yeah. they're my partners in crime. my co-hosts. >> i have a friend, 27, dating a 60-year-old man. they have asked me to join them in the bedroom. >> now judge. >> reporter: the special bond with her audience, wendy says she holds most dear. >> i just caught a kiss and put it under my wig. >> reporter: who painted this? >> 11-year-old girl, autumn. >> it's beautiful. >> hon leastestly, some of my most touching moments, god, some of my most touching moments with my wendy watchers are people who
say, they battled cancer. and i help them get through chemotherapy. or you know while they were pregnant. and couldn't do as much as they used to. but i was there for them. what a mess. >> wow. what a gentleman. >> reporter: while you play a diva on television -- >> i am not. >> reporter: really? >> that is a horrible, horrible stereotype. i think that we get as women. you know, in some sort of power. i don't believe that i am a diva. >> reporter: wendy's take no prisoner attitude hasn't come out without a number of celebrity fuchltdeuds. 1998, reportedly driven off new york radio after making accusation as but sean diddy combs. >> while the statute of limitations have passed on that poppic. puffy and i have made up wonderfully.
we are beth surviveoth survivors in a game that turns you to the streets and leaves you for broke. >> reporter: and wendy pressed the late whitney houston on her drug use. >> is drug use going on at the present time. >> who are you talking to. >> you are very defensive. >> i have to be, wendy, you talk about me every [ bleep ] day. >> did you recognize at the moment this is going some place or did it happen organically? >> it happened organically. i recognized the moment. because i recognize the behavior. because the that was once me. >> addiction? >> uh-huh. >> despite her bumpy past, wendy says she has no regrets. >> i don't know how much longer the show is going to last. i can tell you i am having the ride of my life right now. more than i could have ever dreamt. >> reporter: living her dreams on her own terms. in her uniquely wendy williams way. our thanks to wendy williams. we'll be right back.
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here in vineland, new jersey, home of progresso, we love all kinds of chicken soups... but just one kind of chicken. it's white breast meat chicken every time. because white breast meat chicken releases its flavor into the broth and absorbs more flavor from it. and in vineland, it's all about flavor so if you're not going to make your own chicken soup tonight, do what we do...make it progresso. this week on "nightline," we'll be taking a much closer look at the refugee crisis in europe.
dan harris is in greece at one of the main entry points into europe. we'll have the very latest all week from the front lines of this crisis. tonight, abc's alex marquardt is in germany and brings us the glimpse into the tension as it reaches the boiling point of what some countries are trying to do to help. >> reporter: confrontations in hungary between police and refugees. and in greece, the waves of people keep on coming. >> the people are coming quicker than we can load them. >> reporter: 20,000 arriving in germany in three days. chancellor angela merkle says germany is ready to take in 800,000 people this year hand has urged other european countries to step up. those who just arrived are shelters. >> this was a vw dealership in the past few days converted into a refugee center. over here the medical area. back here, play room for the kids.